The plight of staying home

The truth is, I’m struggling lately.  Not with accepting our new home, or dealing with the emotional trauma of moving across the country (although yes I am still working on accepting these things as well).  I’ve been having a bit of an existential crisis lately, and I’m just not sure what I’m doing with my life these days.

I know, I know.  I’m a mommy, and that’s no small feat and it’s certainly not “nothing.”  But I’ve been asking myself for some time now whether that’s all I want to be doing right now.  And I’m still not sure.  Some days, I feel so happy to be home with my daughter, soaking in every moment with her, developing that bond that I’ve always wanted to have with a little girl of my very own.  I am so blessed to even have the option to be able to stay home with her.

But on other days – not as often, but still with some frequency – I feel like I need more.  I need mental stimulation, I need to be working toward some goal, and I wouldn’t mind some extra money in my family’s bank account.  But the very thought of finding a job, and the routine that would necessarily follow that – waking Claire up super early, getting her fed and out of the house, dropping her at daycare where she would have to vie for attention with a room full of other toddlers, and then only seeing her for a few hours in a day after work before she goes to bed – scares me, a lot.  I know TONS of moms who do it every day, and I know it’s totally possible and sometimes scary and hard things are worth it, but I don’t know if I want that something more that much.

And I don’t know how to figure it out.  Part time work maybe?  Or do I just need to utilize a babysitter more often?  How do I achieve that balance in my life where I feel like I have time to myself or where I’m thinking about something other than my daughter, even for just a little bit?  Does anyone ever feel like they’ve achieved that balance?

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On that note, my husband and I did have a triumphant moment last night.  We haven’t found a steady babysitter since we moved here, and I’ve never had anyone but a grandma put her to bed while Sean and I went out for a date night.  A couple of weeks ago we met some neighbors on our street who are former military and have a sixteen year-old daughter.  Long story short, we met their daughter who is sweet as can be, they invited us out to a honky-tonk bar for live music and drinks (when in Rome, right?), and I was so flustered and in such desperate need for a break that I decided I just had to go for it and hope Claire behaved for a babysitter.  And guess what?  We did it!  Claire played with her sitter and went to bed relatively easily, we had a great time with our new friends, and I had a few too many drinks which was exactly what I needed after a very busy week.  And the best part is we now have a babysitter two houses down from us and we have decided a once per month date night is in our future.  That’s definitely a step in the right direction…

Sometimes I think (hell, I know) I take life too seriously.  I worry over everything.  Am I interactive enough with Claire?  Is she learning everything she should be at her age?  Does she know how much I love her?  I take her routine too seriously and I never embrace chaos.  Chaos is my enemy.  But as I’m learning how to be a mom and accepting what my life has become these days, I feel like I want and need more chaos in my life.  More than that, I want to not be ruled by fear of everything that could happen.  I need to do right by myself and let Claire figure out how to be away from me from time to time because it’s good for her and it’s very good for me.  Sean and I hadn’t had a date night in ages because finding a sitter and hoping Claire doesn’t freak out while we’re gone and worrying over if she’ll go to bed ok without us literally scared me away from even trying.  But I have to try.  I have to go for things because otherwise I get in a rut and I’m unhappy and dying for a break that I won’t allow myself to have.  I have done and been through some seriously difficult things in my life…More than I even care to list here.  So why is allowing myself to be away from my daughter every so often feel like one of the hardest??  Life is so weird.

So if you need me, I’ll be browsing the job ads and trying to decide what I really want for myself… More of a regular break from the daily grind?  Some sort of job where I can use my talents and skills more frequently?

How do YOU get yourself out of a rut?  I’d love to know, especially from moms who are home with their littles all day.

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Major mommy breakthrough

 

Before I start, let’s just take a big collective deep breath in……..and out.  And another…..Here’s a little sunset photo I took this week to help.

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That’s better, isn’t it?  After being sick for three weeks, and whining about it plenty on here, my husband and I did something we hadn’t done in over a year and a half.  We got a hotel room, and had over 24 hours to ourselves.  It was heaven.  It was perfection.  It was a giant deep breath in…and out.

We had cocktails at sunset, with no mini me screaming for her goldfish and blueberries, asking to get down and run around like a drunk person, or demanding a bite of anything on my fork.  We just…..talked.  And sipped.  And ate unpasteurized meats and cheeses.  AND LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT.

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Champagne cocktails, and a water glass I seriously considered stealing. My conscience won out.
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#Charcuterie

You see, it was my first night away from Claire…ever.  Sean has had plenty (collectively he’s spent months away from her because of his job), but for me, I’d never spent more than 8 hours away from my baby.  And everyone asked me how I felt, and how it went, as if they were waiting for me to say that I had a nervous breakdown and demanded we drive home immediately.  Boy were they wrong!  I loved every second of it!  I had cocktails, wine, yummy food I didn’t have to share, a bubblebath, we went shopping and took our sweet time in whatever store we wanted.  It was magic!

Don’t get me wrong, we talked about Claire plenty, and I felt myself wishing I could check in on her at night, but after the last four months of moving hell, holidays away from home hell, being sick hell, I was SO READY for a break from reality.  It couldn’t have come at a better time.  And did I ever relish my little sanity break.  A lingering cold couldn’t keep me down; I threw all my cold aid paraphernalia in a bag and hopped in the car.   And the best part?  By the time we got home the next afternoon, I was so excited to see my little nugget and felt more energized than I had in a very long time.  So, please forgive any griping I may have done about my mother-in-law coming to visit.

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Dessert and coffee. Which we took our sweet time eating, because we could. And I only had to share with my husband. Bliss.
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And breakfast room service. A total splurge, but when would we get this chance again? Worth it.  (I also refrained from stealing the water glasses again, somehow)

When I think about my friends in my hometown who still live there, along with their parents, and realize they can just drop their kids off with grandma on any random Saturday or date night, I turn green with envy.  Sure, we can hire a babysitter, but that obviously gets expensive.  And not practical for an overnight.  So now that we had this little retreat, I’m realizing that they will only come around every six months or so.  Next time I’m thinking several days away might be in order…. in Vegas?  A girl can dream.

I’m learning a valuable lesson in mommy guilt.  From day to day, I feel guilty if I don’t play with Claire enough if I have things to do, or that we didn’t read enough books together, or that I didn’t take her to any activities to engage her, etc.  I feel guilty that she doesn’t have many opportunities to socialize with other babies yet.  And when I put her down to bed, I think about how good of a sleeper she is and feel guilt about the cry it out method we used, which was hard (as they all are) but has produced the best sleeper a parent could ask for.  I reflect on the day and wonder what I could have done more of, or better, or different.  It’s exhausting.  But I’m getting tired of feeling that way, and so when this opportunity to get away came around, I told myself I wasn’t allowed to feel guilty about it.  She was happy at home with grandma, and Sean and I needed some time alone together.  And for once, I listened to my inner self and I enjoyed every damn second.  And guess what happened?  Claire was happy as a clam for her Nana and was happy to see us when we got home, but was completely unfazed from us being away from her.

Lesson learned: get out more.  For your own sanity!